In the near future, the package that you ordered online may be deposited at your doorstep by a drone: Last December, online retailer Amazon announced plans to explore drone-based delivery, suggesting that fleets of flying robots might serve as autonomous messengers that shuttle packages to customers within 30 minutes of an order. To ensure safe, timely, and accurate delivery, drones would need to deal with a degree of uncertainty in responding to factors such as high winds, sensor measurement errors, or drops in fuel.
New research details emerging this week suggest that Google is after the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. According to an intriguing report in New Scientist, Google is building a next-generation information database called Knowledge Vault that's designed to index and store what we can reasonably term facts.
Google has built a "Matrix-style" digital simulation of the entire Californian road system in which it is testing its self-driving cars - and is lobbying the state's regulators to certify them based on virtual rather than real driving. The extensive simulation - reminiscent of the virtual cities created for human captives in sci-fi blockbuster The Matrix - exists entirely inside computers at the company's Mountain View location, and the cars have so far virtually "driven" more than 4 million miles inside it, facing challenges just like those in the real world, such as lane-weaving motorists, wobbly cyclists and unpredictable pedestrians.
Google on Thursday updated its Voice Search app -- which lets users say search queries aloud instead of typing them -- to support more than one language at a time. That means that a speaker who knows multiple languages can switch among them when making voice searches without having to change the settings on the app.